Oh, That Wall
Hitting the wall is something new runners preparing for a race hear about fairly quickly. In an article, Runners World described it as, “Your legs feel like concrete, your breathing grows labored, your strides turn into a shuffle. “
I’ve gotten sick during runs, but I don’t think it’s been because I hit the wall. Maybe I just don’t understand the symptoms. My legs don’t feel like concrete. My breathing is okay.
Just two weeks ago, my energy just suddenly disappeared and my stomach was doing cartwheels. I was half a mile from home. I called somebody to pick me up before the energy to even make a phone call was gone. I shuffled along, praying my ride would get there as quickly as possible.
Running sounds fun, right?
Of the times I couldn’t finish a run, most of those I knew I shouldn’t have even tried. I knew I was sick, but I was stupid. So to reiterate a continuing theme on this blog, “Don’t be stupid. Stay alive.” (I should print a sign with that and tape it to my front door to stop me from running when I shouldn’t.)
If you need help when you’re out running, ask someone, call someone, or wave down someone. You know your body, and you know when you need help. Don’t be afraid to ask.
So let’s talk about those other times when you’re struggling during a race and don’t require medical attention. I’ve heard people say and write, “Just push through it.”
That sounds hardcore but how? A lot of it is state of mind. During LLS Team In Training, many of the participants thought our of hero or family members and friends they were running for. You’ll see signs along the run with messages like “Remember why you’re doing this.”
I aim for small goals. Can I make it to the next block? I just focus on making it to the next street light or some other landmark. This way I have small achievable goals. They’ll add up. Sometimes, they’re micro-goals. Can I move my foot forward?
A distraction is also a wonderful thing. Music helps tremendously. I danced terribly to distract from a leg cramp. Podcasts and audiobooks slow me down, but they might work for you.
So, no magic solution here. It’s just a reminder hitting the wall is an unfortunate possibility for all runners. I wrote about dealing with struggles during a run. The Runners World article I linked to above also has tips on preparing before a run to avoid hitting the wall. Good luck.
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Former high school water girl (really) finally running.